The West Craven arm of an East Lancashire food bank regularly helps more than 80 people in the area, and that figure is expected to rise as Christmas approaches.
Since the launch of food donation points and a storage facility in Barnoldswick and Earby in July 2013, West Craven’s 15 volunteers have seen a continuous rise in demand for help, delivering food to those in need twice a week.
The Burnley-based Community Solutions food bank operates the West Craven food bank, with names passed from those centrally to volunteers on the ground at local level.
Liz Grose, co-ordinator of the West Craven food bank, has called on anybody who can to spare a non-perishable gift this Christmas to do so.
She said: “I head up the team of volunteers who deliver the food. I get a list of names and addresses on a Monday and a Wednesday, and we deliver on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“The number of people referred has been rising over the last year or more. I think the rise will be two-fold, it will be an increased need and increased awareness of the facility that is there to tap in to.
“We know there will be families who rely on free school meals who will require our help during the Christmas holidays and I anticipate there will be people out there who require support who haven’t heard about the service.
“We are very pleased with the response we get in the Co-op stores, it has been great.
“The churches have also been really supportive, regularly making donations. In fact, much of their harvest gifts this year came to us.
“But if anybody can spare further items at this festive time of year, please bear the food bank in mind.”
People can be referred to Community Solutions via Help Direct, the Citizens Advice Bureau, schools and the churches.
Donations of non-perishable foods including pasta, biscuits, crisps and sugar; tinned meat, vegetables, soup and fruit; jars of jam, pasta sauce and meat spreads, long-life milk, bottles of squash, tea and coffee are always welcomed.
In the run up to Christmas, items such as Christmas puddings, stuffing, gravy powder and trifle mixes to be included in Christmas hampers, will also be most welcome.
These can be left in most local churches or in Earby New Road Community Centre, at the Earby Council Shop, Gisburn Road Children’s Centre in Barnoldswick and Wyndham Vacations.
Shoppers at Earby and Barnoldswick Co-op stores can purchase and donate in-store, as can Asda shoppers in Colne.
Questions regarding volunteering or premises which could be used as a public drop off point for food donations should contact Liz on 07973 232108.